In a significant advancement for the field of high-power electronics, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Guwahati, in collaboration with colleagues from IIT-Mandi and TU Wien in Austria, have developed a high-quality ultra-wide bandgap semiconductor (UWBGS) that can function efficiently at extremely high temperatures, up to 200 degrees Celsius. This groundbreaking innovation, which has been funded by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology, promises to radically enhance the performance of power electronic systems used in a wide array of applications, including electric vehicles, high voltage transmission, traction systems, and industrial automation.
Revolutionizing Power Electronics
Power electronic systems are integral to converting electrical energy from both renewable and non-renewable sources into a form that can be consumed by end-users. However, these systems frequently suffer from energy losses. Traditional materials such as gallium nitride and silicon carbide that are commonly used in these systems have limitations in terms of cost and efficiency, particularly at high-power levels.
The team, led by Assistant Professor Ankush Bag, has optimized gallium oxide semiconductor and enhanced its conductivity by adding tin, creating a superior UWBGS. This material, which includes diamonds and gallium, is a subset of wide-bandgap semiconductors, known for their improved performance in power electronic systems.
Cost-Effective and Efficient
The team’s innovation also represents a significant leap forward in terms of cost-effectiveness and thermal performance. Traditionally, gallium oxide substrates were used to create gallium oxide thin films. However, the researchers have innovatively created a gallium oxide thin film on a sapphire substrate, which is more cost-effective and offers better thermal performance.
Implications and Applications
The findings of this research, published in the ‘Journal of IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices’ and ‘Thin Solid Films’, is expected to have wide-ranging implications, particularly in the field of renewable energy and electric vehicles. The new UWBGS material could potentially revolutionize these sectors, enhancing efficiency, reducing energy losses, and paving the way for more sustainable and efficient energy systems.